Mahalo ke Akua literally means “thanks be to God.” If you’re like me, sometimes I look back at my life and marvel at the fact I even survived. How did I get out of some of my circumstances alive and (somewhat) stable? Then it makes me think of all the people who helped along the way, all of the choices I made… and I see how God always had a plan, and when I take the time to be grateful, I see all he did.

Choosing mahalo (gratitude) can change our lives.

God never leaves us

God always had a way for me to succeed. Whenever I made choices, I felt alone. But I reminded myself of the tender mercies he gave to me on a daily basis and I knew I was not alone.

I became stronger, more empathetic, more compassionate, and more patient through my trials. I also had moments of joy and peace. God compensated me with people who raised my spirits and reached out in genuine friendship. Mahalo ke Akua, I’d always think to myself.

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These words stuck, not because they’re easy to say, but because of the meaning behind them. When we take the time to express thanks, our perspective changes. It becomes easier to see the good in all things.

In high school, I conducted a song for my graduating class, called “Thanks be to God.” It was a simple Protestant song, but the meaning sank deep in my heart, especially these words, “Thanks be to God for love divine, the hopes that ‘round my heart entwine, for all the joy that now is mine, thanks be to God.”

Mahalo ke Akua for the joy that I get to experience in this life. Hawaiians have profound gratitude to God for his creations, his mercy, his kindness. Words of thanks and praise never run out:

Mahalo ke Akua for the ocean to provide comfort, for the food we have, for the rain that nourishes the earth, for the sun to shine benevolently, for our families, for the good people in our lives, for the challenges we face, and for the blessings we are so generously given…

Mahalo ke Akua for life

These words have helped me immensely through any of my trials. As I express gratitude for all that I have, even my challenges, my mind is enlightened, I am content, and I have more peace.

This year and always, remember these simple words. Mahalo ke Akua. Be thankful for your life, for the people in your life, for your home, for your health, for the creations on this earth.

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I wanted to include the words to the song, “Thanks be to God.” Whether you are alone or with family or friends this Thanksgiving, I hope these words give you encouragement and peace. Mahalo ke Akua.

Thanks be to God for roses rare,

For skies of blue and sunshine fair;

For ev’ry gift I raise a prayer,

Thanks be to God!

Thanks be to God for lovely night,

For mystic fields with stars bedight,

For hours of dream and deep delight,

Thanks be to God!

Thanks be to God for love divine,

The hopes that ‘round my heart entwine;

For all the joy that now is mine,

Thanks be to God!

Thanks be to God for all the joy that now is mine,

Thanks be to God!

If you’d like to learn more about the Hawaiian value of Mahalo, check this out:

Mahalo: Thanks be to God

Or if you’re interested in learning more about the Hawaiian values, try the FREE 5 Hawaiian Days to Wellness Mini Course!

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Ho’oponopono: A Hawaiian tradition of peace
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Mahalo – Thanks Be To God
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Aloha – The Breath of Life